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  Home > Newsletter > Volunteer Pilots Flying Wounded Vets for Free, August 2011

Volunteer Pilots Flying Wounded Vets for Free

Veterans Airlift CommandImagine for a moment you’re a wounded veteran who has difficulty traveling. Maybe it’s hard to get around physically, or you just can’t afford to fly your family commercially. Now imagine an organization of volunteers to fly you and your loved ones where you want to go — for free. That’s the selfless concept behind Veterans Airlift Command (VAC).

Veterans Airlift Command is a nonprofit, all volunteer organization that provides free air transportation for medical and other compassionate purposes to wounded veterans and their families through a nationwide network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.

There is no cost to the veterans or their families. The volunteer organization or aircraft owner volunteers the aircraft, fuel and whatever else is needed to complete the mission. Thanks to the Veterans Airlift Command and its volunteer pilots from across the country, wounded military personnel, who could not travel long distances on their own, are able to be airlifted for medical care and to reunite with family and friends at important life events.

Veterans Airlift CommandSince its inception in 2006, VAC has recruited around 1,800 aircraft owners and pilots nationwide and has flown close to 4,000 veterans more than 2.2 million miles.

VAC’s Founder, President and Chairman of Veterans Airlift Command Walter Fricke is a decorated combat Army helicopter pilot with hundreds of combat missions flown in Vietnam. In a CNN Money interview, Fricke stated, "Pilots understand freedom in a unique way and appreciate those who defend our freedom in a way that makes them want to stand up and help.

In 2007, Fricke and Veterans Airlift Command received the NBAA Al Ueltschi Humanitarian Award in recognition of the VAC’s work. And in 2009, Fricke was the recipient of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award — an annual award given to the private citizen who has demonstrated the greatest selfless commitment to general aviation.

Andre Bohy is the President of Omni Financial, a company that makes personal loans to active-duty military and career retired military personnel. He is also a VAC volunteer pilot. "Our company does business with the military and this air service is our way of giving back to our troops for their selfless dedication to this country."

Bohy continued, "Most people don't realize what service members and their military families and friends go through. As a pilot, I enjoy the satisfaction that comes with each of these flights."

To find out how you can help Veterans Airlift Command, visit VAC’s help page or call Ed Bauccio at (914) 576-1900, ext. 6007.

PALS is another great resource for veterans. To learn more, visit their website at PALS.

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